Howdy buckaroos and welcome to the finale of Western TV Week. Now given I had not seen this series prior to this write-up I got to find out all sorts of facts. Placed in the surrounding area of Dodge City Kansas this is the first of the TV Westerns to be shown in the Midwestern states rather than the West coast. So get your daisy suits cleaned, polish them spurs and prep for one mighty fine shindig. This is Gunsmoke.
|Hmm wonder how Peter Graves is doing.|
Festus: Spoiler Dillon!!!!
Right off the first episode you get a feeling this show is going to have a sense of style to it. It gets introduced by the Duke himself, John Wayne. Giving praises to both the show and cast members. Not too shabby for right out of the gate and was adapted from the same name titled radio show to television.
Deputy US Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness of The Thing from Another World, Iron Man, Hellgate, Hondo, Them! And McClain’s Law) dispenses justice in Dodge City and the surrounding areas. Having two regular deputies Festus Haggen (Ken Curtis of Rio Grande, The Searchers, The Killer Shrews, The Giant Gila Monster and Ripcord) a cantankerous grump and Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver of Touch of Evil, Kentucky Jones, Gentle Ben, Duel and McCloud) a scrappy fellow with a good gun hand, Dillon had the authority to deputize anyone of use and wanting to serve the good folk of Dodge City and the surrounding territories. Keeping the peace with compassion but backed up with six shooters and rifles.
|Low down horse thieving...Hey is that Scotty?!!|
One of notoriety in my opinion is the half breed Indian blacksmith, Quint (Burt Reynolds of Dan August, Deliverance, Shamus, White Lighting, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit and Malone) whose main role was to go into a residing town and apparently get the crap wailed out of him. Granted Quint gave as well as he got but still lay off the poor guy.
When the fellas are not out keeping the peace, they are taking in a show at the Long Branch Saloon to catch Miss Kathleen “Kitty” Russel (Amanda Blake of Sunny Side of the Street, Lili, A Star is Born, The Red Skelton Hour and Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge) who is quite the eyeful. Miss Kitty is the sole proprietor of the saloon/hotel/brothel and yet was never viewed as a madam in the town’s eye but a business woman.
A few points of interest I thought I would bring up. While the story takes place in Dodge City; there are more than a few locations that look awfully familiar. Such as Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, Paramount Ranch, Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth California and Simi Valley. For most of the interior shots from anything to a gunfight to a bar room brawl we can surmise these shots took place in the CBS Studio Center as well as California Studios for the in-depth rafter lighting for the bar’s interior shots.
|Miss Kitty takes no guff.|
Also the barrage of guest stars of the show such as Claude Akins, Ed Asner, James Doohan, Barbara Eden, Leif Garrett, Beverly Garland, Jodie Foster and Dennis Hopper just to name a handful. Lasting for 20 years this Western truly gripped the imagination.